Monday, October 23, 2017

Autumn color

Last day of the streak of nice autumn weather we've had.  (Used to be called Indian Summer or is that not 'PC" anymore?)  I could see the leaden clouds coming in around sunset and tonight wind is shrieking around the house.  Glad I used this last week to get most of the outside activities done.  The plants I plan on overwintered are nestled snug in the house. Watching for the next big thing - first snow.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sandhill Cranes

I didn't know that sandhill cranes would fly in a  "V".  Guess if it's good enough for a goose it's good enough for a crane.  Time to start Halloween traditions - watched 'Arsenic and Old Lace' this afternoon.  It's the movie that inspired me to put window seats in my house.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Milkweed seeds

I wasn't much for dolls growing up but I did like milkweed pods.  As they fill up and before they pop open, they look a lot like a parrot w/ green feathers.  Open them up and the seed pack resembles a brown scaly fish.  Later when the pods break open and they fluff out, they can be a Spanish dancer's puffy dress or Santa Claus's beard.  Of course, on a warm day like today,  you can lay on the grass and just let the seeds go little by little, watching as their silken parachutes move them along on invisible air currents.  Might be  I was an imaginative kid or, more likely, I was just easily amused.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Autumn color

We are enjoying a week of nice weather.  Indy and I took a long walk through the swamps yesterday but we only got in a short walk this morning before I took off to fill in for the morning shift at the library.  There was the usual activity at the library - people using the computers, making copies, buying used books, turning in and picking up new books to read.  One of the good things about volunteering is you see the books other people are reading. I stopped to look through a book that was turned in called "Masters of Deception".  It was filled w/ trompe l'oeil and Escher type paintings.  Wrote down the name of the book and the author.  I'll order it later this winter when the great outdoors isn't quite so inviting.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Autumn in the swamps

Got a note from my garbage pickup company that they would no longer be collecting recyclables in this area.  I'd switched to them in the spring because my former garbage pickup company -Waste Management - didn't collect recyclables.  I had heard a radio interview w/ Waste Management officials talking about how important they considered recycling.  Someone from my area called into the program and asked why WM didn't collect recycling.  The WM official had said, in true managerial form, he'd "look into it."  Recycling is a law in my state.  I can only assume the law just says residents have to recycle - nothing requiring garbage pickup companies to accept it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Two percent moon and Venus

There are twelve major meteor showers during the year.  Over this weekend is the Orionids.  As the name suggests they look like they originate from the constellation Orion which you can find high in the southern sky in the morning.   This shower is caused by Halley's comet.  Comets leave a dusty trail that remains long after the comet has come and gone.  Yearly, as the Earth crosses the comet's orbit, our gravity pulls in some of the dust and we see the bits and pieces burn up  when they enter our atmosphere. The comet Halley returns every 75 years (or so) and refreshes that section of space w/ more dust so the Orionids are a regular display.  Try to get out and look for them this year - the moon will still be just a sliver so it shouldn't ruin the show.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sunrise on the ski hill

Forecast is for a week of warm weather.  It was nice enough this afternoon to sit out on the deck again and do a crossword.  It was the attack of the ladybugs (or maybe they are Japanese beetles, don't know).  I swatted them away and tried to keep the from crawling up my pants or into my shirt.  Once I was inside I saw some were crawling on the inside of the windows.   The kittens were asleep in the sun and surprisingly uninterested.   I was catching beetles and throwing them back outside until I saw whenever I opened the door at least one would fly back inside.  It was too much for me and I snapped.  I walked to the freezer and took out my tick jar.  If it works on ticks, it will work on these things.  Problem solved.

Monday, October 16, 2017


Blitzen learned how to meow this weekend. Up to then she had done a kinda squeek but Saturday morning she came up to me and meowed in my face.  We 'meowed' back and forth a couple of times - think she was a bit impressed w/ herself.  Dunder had figured out how to do it some time ago.  I don't think her delay in 'speaking' has anything to do w/ intelligence.  I'm told I didn't speak until I was three.  Mom said that w/ three older siblings I had no need.  I prefer to think of it as Intelligent people speak because they have something to say, Fools because they have to say something. (ha)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Daylily seed pod

I read an article that suggested that part of getting a good night's sleep is to have a bed-time ritual.  I didn't think I had one (but then falling asleep has never been an issue for me).  However after thinking more about it I guess I do. The dog brings her Kong biscuit ball over to me.  If it's after 6 p.m. I fill it w/ treats and she happily trots over to a quiet place to play w/ it.  I call for the kittens and feed them in the utility room. While they eat I check that Indy's water bowl is full and then call for her and we take our after-dark walk.  Once we are back home Indy prefers to go out to her run so she can continue to listen to night sounds.   The cats are now in their active time.  I sit down at my desk to put out a blog entry.  Have to be a little careful since more than once I've had a kitten vault from the back of a stuffed chair, across the laptop, land on the desk and slide off the end.   Monday through Friday, the start of 'Hogan's Heros' on MeTV is my reminder it's time to hit the hay. Indy comes back into the house and I set the sleep time on the TV.  I'm not sure that is what the article meant by a relaxing winding down schedule.  It will all fall apart if MeTV ever changes when 'Hogan's Heros' reruns are aired.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Sleeping Mergansers

The walk today started out past Gorgeous Gorge.  Watched these two ducks for awhile.  Couldn't understand why they weren't moving at all and looked like they had short necks.  It wasn't till I downloaded the picture that I saw they were sleeping mergansers - they tuck their head just under their wing.  I suppose they were resting on their migration south.  Then walked down though the field.  My neighbor has a back hoe and is digging around in his field.  Not sure why but Russell thought he might be getting soil to use to reclaim a hill on the far side of the gravel pit.  Jumped down into one of the holes to look for rocks while Indy sniffed around the machinery.  Then we rounded the corn field.  My neighbor allows me to put up two bluebird houses on his property and I wanted to take them home for the season.  One house had abandoned tree swallow eggs.  I'm afraid it wasn't a good year for the tree swallows.  As I said before it might have been too cold during the spring for them to get enough insects.  Indy and I continued on down the far side of the corn field and worked our way back home.  No one would call what we do a 'power walk'.  It's maybe more like a 'play walk.'

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sigma at sunset

This cloud looked to me like the letter Sigma, though I suppose a case could be made for a small Xi. I've been collecting pics of things I see that look like letters in the Greek alphabet. (Hey, you have your hobbies, I have mine.)  Besides getting this picture I also mowed the lawn and trails.  Don't remember ever mowing before in October and, to tell the truth, under normal circumstances I wouldn't have done it today. However, I do still have gas in the mower and wanted to use as much of it as possible before winter.  Kinda glad I did.  Nice to ride around on the tractor and see all the trees in color.  I did mow around a late blooming orange hawkweed, stopped for a leopard frog that hopped across the path, and slowed down for a butterfly that insisted flying right in front of the tractor.  Fortunately no one in my neighborhood cares if my lawn conforms to the same length as their's or if it's a little ragged in places.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Gorgeous Gorge

Good day for outside autumnal chores.  Disconnected about 1/2 of the bluebird houses and brought them back to the house.  Will clean out the PVC pipes and keep them out on the deck until next spring.  The wooden ones I cleaned out in situ and left the door open.  Winter winds will do the rest.  Replaced any burned out solar lights around the deck.  Indy and I walked out toward Gorgeous Gorge tonight just so we could turn around and see how the house looked w/ the solar lights framing the deck.  Grabbed my loppers and went out looking for Buckthorn trees.  It's better a little later on in the season to look for them.  They keep their leaves green after almost every other tree has dropped theirs so they stand out. However, I'd seen a female tree loaded w/ berries on the trail and wanted to get to it before the birds spread the seeds everywhere.  I marked the stump w/ pink tape and went looking for some other Buckthorn I had marked last year.  Was pretty happy to see all of them hadn't come back.  Moved any deck furniture on the southwest side to the southeast side.  Those winter winds that will blow the bird houses clean are strong enough to blow any furniture off the deck on the southwest but will just build up a dune on the southeast.  Started restacking firewood but left some for later.  Would have been a great day but found a tick walking up my neck.  Tick check tonight.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


I've been seeing bluebirds around since last Friday and was able to get a picture of one today.   I had no bluebirds here until my brother put up houses for them some years ago.  The birds arrive early in the spring, usually raise two broods, and by July they are gone.  However, each autumn, when the leaves are changing, they will gather back here before taking off south.  I think of them as "my" bluebirds because I'll find them around (and sometimes on) the birdhouses where bluebirds nested in the spring. I know it's anthropomorphising but I like to think they are stopping by to say thank you and save a place for them next year.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

First Frost

I filled in at the library this afternoon (yeah, I know, that blog entry from yesterday is easier said than done).  As small talk to the  patrons coming in I'd mention that it was First Frost last night.  Everyone knew what I was talking about and seemed happy that it had finally happened.  Not precisely sure why Northerners look forward to it but we do - it's like a holiday w/ no stress.  Joyous First Frost also heralds the beginning of  Deer Hunting Crap season.  Indy and I have been taking after dark walks nightly.  Both of us kinda enjoy seeing the country in a different light (so to speak).   Tonight we were "shined".  "Shining" is when bozos drive down the road and shine an incredibly bright light into the fields to see if they can find deer grazing. Tonight they found Indy and me.  I'm planning on breaking into their homes tomorrow morning and waking them up w/ a flashlight - either w/ a light in their face or a swipe upside their head.  OK, most of that is against the law but I'd be acquitted if deer were allowed on juries.